PAC lauds public bodies over audit compliance
From left: PAC Member Christopher Saunders FS; CO Kenneth Jefferson; CFO Nina Vandine; Deputy Accountant General Gloria Myles; Accountant General Matthew Tibbetts; and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson. (Photo: Contributed)
The Public Accounts Committee has applauded government entities that have excelled in meeting the Audit Office’s annual requirements.
Several special awards were presented under three categories — leading by example, audit efficiency and most improved — during a recent function to mark the occasion in the Legislative Assembly.
Welcoming the chief officers, chief financial officers and chief executive officers and team members who were there to receive the awards, PAC Chairman, Ezzard Miller highlighted the nearly full compliance of government entities with the requirements of the audit office.
Terming 39 unqualified audit opinions obtained out of 41 entities as a “really serious and commendable achievement” in keeping with being a world-class service provider, the chairman urged those lagging to change their status by next year. He recalled that the entities had come a long way from 2009 when a considerable number did not have their accounts ready for audit.
Miller had equal words of praise for the Audit Office whose principals completed all the audits efficiently even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanking the entities and adding his congratulations, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson welcomed the fact that the PAC had held the entities’ “feet to the fire” to ensure they spend the public’s money in a “very judicious manner”.
In addition to meeting their financial responsibilities, the accounts were completed to a standard that ensured the public’s right to know how government’s funds were spent.
He acknowledged that all the achieving entities made him very proud, especially the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for leading among core government entities and encouraged others to give the ministry good competition in the next audit cycle.
PAC Member, MLA Chris Saunders was elated with the improvement in government levels of controls in dealing with finances. Noting that there have to be different standards for the public sector, which was not as easy to audit as the private sector, he emphasised that the quality of work and calibre of persons providing the government accounts were truly world class.
The Chief Executives and Chief Financial Offices receiving special certificates relating to 2018 and 2019 financial audits were as follows:
For a ministry, office or portfolio:
1. The 2018 and 2019 Leading by Example Awards – to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for submitting their financial statements and annual report for the two years before the statutory deadline, for being the first entity audit completed in both years and yet again achieving unqualified audit opinions; Financial Secretary and CO, Kenneth Jefferson, CFO Nina Vandine and her team;
2. The 2018 Audit Efficiency Award – to the the Ministry of Community Affairs for quick and efficient audit completion, having an unqualified opinion with no ISA260 control points raised and for getting their annual report tabled promptly – Chief Officer Teresa Echenique, CFO Joel Burke and his team;
3. 2019 Audit Efficiency Award – to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for consistently being the first audit completed and achieving unqualified opinions and especially for achieving the quickest ever audit sign off date on 6 March 2020 which was nine days quicker than in 2018 – FS and CO Jefferson, CFO Vandine and her team;
4. The 2019 Most Improved Award – to the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands; for working with the Office of the Auditor General to bring their 2016-17, 2018 and 2019 audits up to date in a seven-month period after many years of being in backlog and achieving unqualified opinions on all three periods – CO Cetonya Cacho and CFO Nicola Anderson-Wildman and her team.
For statutory authorities or government companies (SAGCs):
1. 2018 and 2019 Leading by Example Awards – to the Audit Oversight Authority for submitting financial statements for the two years before the statutory deadline, being the first SAGC audit completed in both years and consistently achieving an unqualified audit opinion - Managing Director Paul Anderton and Finance and Administration Manager Kim Lutz;
2. 2018 Audit Efficiency Award – to the Public Service Pensions Board for quick and efficient audit completion, having an unqualified opinion and getting their annual report tabled promptly, CEO Jewel Evans-Lindsey and CFO Faith Ebanks and her team;
3. 2019 Audit Efficiency Award – to the Health Services Authority (HSA) for still achieving an unqualified audit opinion by the statutory deadline when also dealing with the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic; CEO Lizette Yearwood and CFO Dawn Cummings and her finance team;
4. 2018 Most Improved Award – to the HSA (this award went to the entity whose achievement in the year was judged most significant); the HSA had qualified audit opinions for many years having real difficulties in managing their debt and proving their revenue was complete – after concerted efforts and a systematic plan of action, the HSA achieved their first unqualified audit opinion in 2018; for their considerable work undertaken, CEO Ms Yearwood for her leadership and new CFO Cummings and her finance team; laudably the HSA now has achieved a profit.
Ministries, offices and portfolios receiving unqualified audit opinions for 2018 and 2019 are: Cabinet Office, Ministries of Community Affairs; District Administration, Tourism and Transport; Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands; Finance and Economic Development; Human Resources and Immigration; Financial Services and Home Affairs; and Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure; Judicial Administration; Offices of the Director of Public Prosecutions; the Ombudsman and the Auditor General; Portfolios of Legal Affairs and the Civil Service.
SAGCs receiving unqualified audit opinions for 2018 and 2019 are:
Auditors Oversight Authority; CI Development Bank; CI Monetary Authority; Port Authority of the CI; CINICO; Cayman Islands National Museum; CI Stock Exchange; Sister Islands Affordable Housing Development Corporation, Segregated Insurance Fund; Cayman National Cultural Foundation; Children and Youth Services Foundation; Civil Aviation Authority; Tourism Attractions Board; Water Authority; Health Services Authority; Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands; National Drug Council; Public Service Pensions Board; University College of the Cayman Islands; National Gallery of the Cayman Islands; National Housing and Development Trust, National Roads Authority and Utilities Regulation and Competition Office.